Sunday, May 01, 2011

A quarter of a century

Yesterday was Gabriel's 25th birthday.  As usual, we just celebrated as a family, going to Chili's for supper and then having cake and presents at home.  Gabriel wanted a red velvet cake, which is sort of a family tradition dating back to Jesse's childhood.  My mother, understanding how hectic my life was as a single mom to so many kids (not to mention the sheer number of birthdays we celebrated!), started offering to buy a cake for the kids' birthdays.  Living close to the Red Oven Bakery in Arlington, she always bought the cakes there, and usually got their specialty:  red velvet cake.  But apparently red velvet cake is more of a Southern thing, and most bakeries here don't make it.  I finally decided to make it myself, and it turned out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

Of course, birthdays are always a time for a bit of reflection.  I have to say that this year Gabriel is doing pretty well.  At least he's doing better this year than he has since his 20th birthday.  It was 3 months after his 20th birthday that he had his first major psychotic break.  Since then birthdays have come and gone, and he has slept through them, been hospitalized with blood sugar at 850 on one, has generally been spinning his wheels as life passed him by.  But this year is different.  I can look back over the last year and see that he has made progress since his last birthday.  He goes to the Independence Center every day, where he is around other people, has work that he does, has a reason to get out of bed.  He has better medical care up here, and adjustments to his medication have lessened the intrusiveness of the voices.

So, Happy Birthday, Gabriel!  May you continue to build a meaningful life for yourself...